Following the vague clues she had, Frëa wanted to search deeper into Khaz Zirâk, in hopes of finding more definite traces of her mother Kaisha. She gathered Alfred, Celebrimbor, Falin, and Lewis, and they set out south.
A little outside Chepdale, they noticed some twenty head of cows behaving nervously, with no sign of the herdsman. They investigated, and found the young man tied to a tree some distance away, with the remains of a freshly slaughtered cow carcass next to him. Once he was freed and given a little food, he gratefully explained that he had been set upon by Sir Warrick and his men-at-arms. Sir Warrick had wanted to buy a cow, but the herdsman was in no position to sell his master’s stock. This angered the grim knight, and he took a cow and had it butchered, and then had the frightened herdsman tied up, while stuffing a decent payment for a cow in the poor man’s pockets. When the soldiers had dined, they left, leaving the young man in a dangerous predicament. The group told the herdsman to have his master apply to them if he got into trouble, so they could back up his story. Then they pushed on their journey, while they mulled over the possibilities of reporting this incident to someone in Chepdale.
When they returned to the path towards the Southern Watchtower, they met Sir Wolfe and his entourage. He was headed for the Kobold Forest to try to locate Sisala, who had gone missing. The adventurers told Sir Wolfe what they knew of Sisala, and he was grateful for their insights. In turn, the grizzled knight told them what he knew of Sir Warrick.
Sir Warrick was of noble stock, but had been disowned by his family for his harsh ways. He joined a mercenary company, and did very well for himself. With his wealth, he somehow managed to be adopted by an ailing nobleman with no heirs, and so effectively bought himself a minor title. Sir Wolfe was not surprised to hear of Sir Warrick’s behavior towards the young herdsman, and noted that it reflected poorly on Longstrand, his own native land, when its nobles behaved liked that.
Going the same way, the adventurers and the knight followed the trail towards Fort Drycliff. They also met the merchant Frederick, who was going to Fort Drycliff to arrange for a shipment of gems. He happily joined the many armed people until he reached the Southern Watchtower.
A few hours past the watchtower, the adventurers, the knight, and his followers found an excellently sheltered campsite. This proved a great advantage, as the following day proved to be one of hail. They all remained in shelter of their camp until another dawn broke, playing dice and talking the day away. Then the knight and his men headed west towards the forest, while the adventurers proceeded deeper into Drycliff Valley.
When the group approached the north gate of Khaz Zirâk, they met a patrol from Fort Drycliff. The dwarves were initially neutrally inclined, until their leader set eyes on Frëa. His attitude immediately turned surly, and only after considerable persuasion and demonstration from Lewis did the dwarf agree to let the adventurers go about their business.
At the north gate, the group found several giant vultures feasting on the drow corpses, and they killed all of them before they could flee. Then they began to cross the chasm to the landing platform in front of the gate. As they were in the process of doing this, several quaggoths came out in the shadow of the landing platform and attacked them. One of them had magical powers, but all the same, the quaggoths soon proved to have little chance against seasoned adventurers. On one of the quaggoths, the group found a magical bracer, part of a pair.
After the fight, the group went inside and found an alcove to take a meal. They were disturbed by some manner of creatures, but these decided against attacking when Alfred called forth magical spikes covering the entrance to the alcove. As such, the adventurers’ rest was not long interrupted, and the group soon marched down the road towards the central hub of the city.
Here they sought for the way to the mithril mines, which they hoped to examine. During this search, they came upon a meeting between a group of derro and a mind flayer. Initially unaware of the illithid, Falin rushed in to fight the derro, who thought they were betrayed and ambushed by some ally of the mind flayer. They drew their weapons, only to be cut down en masse by the mind flayer’s psionics. Falin then intended to attack the mind flayer as well, revealing that the illithid was better protected than it seemed. It had an umber hulk servant lurking under the floor, and had prepared a trap to avoid being rushed. Celebrimbor joined the attack, and managed to land an attack with his bow on the illithid. It responded with a stunning psionic wave, sending most of the adventurers reeling. Fortunately, Frëa managed to calm the situation down before anyone was killed.
The illithid did his best to be soothing, and introduced himself as Daldruum. He claimed to have been trying to negotiate with the derro, who were apparently something of a nuisance to the mind flayer and his colony. The derro were thick in the area, as they had gathered together to worship a beholder, which lived in the Cold & Water area in the upper reaches of Khaz Zirâk. Daldruum indicated that the derro took and held slaves, as did the beholder, and offered to trade information about any dwarf slaves in return for knowledge about the hobgoblins and orcs of Nan Mehtar. Frëa suggested she pay for the information with gold instead, her good sense warning her of the dangers of helping mind flayers with information, however innocuous it might seem. Daldruum suggested 5,000gp as a reasonable price. Frëa obviously had no such sum available, but thought she might be able to raise it. Daldruum said he would confer with his colony, and contact the group psionically.
Taking a moment to regain their composure after this unnerving encounter, the group then proceeded down into the old mithril mining area. They found a long, winding area, carefully honeycombed for maximum extraction of potential mithril ore.
Following some tracks, the group also found a duergar, who seemed a little touched in the head. He was extracting rock samples in the area, under contract with someone called Drere. The adventurers decided to leave him to do his no doubt futile task, though slightly disturbed by the notion of a surface dwarf doing business with duergar.
Pushing in into the honeycomb, the group came across a few dangerous leftovers from the time mithril was mined and smelted here, but knowing them for what they were avoided them. In one pool of acid, however, they noticed an object lying on the bottom. Intrigued, they devised a way to drain the pool using Frëa’ magic, and retrieved the object: A glass key with the number ‘32’ embossed on it. It was probably of dwarven make, and not likely to be for a normal lock. But it probably served to open something belonging to a noble or even royal dwarf, and so it was likely to be of use somewhere in the upper mansions.
Exhausted after their long stay in the depths, the group activated a Rune of Teleportation, and returned to Chepdale.

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